Teachers Connect
Jul 17, 2013

Institute 2: Risk Taking

How will you encourage students to take risks and address errors in their work? What strategies can you help them develop so that they don’t continually “start over?”

12 Responses to Institute 2: Risk Taking

  1. Amy says:

    I think letting the students ‘play’ in the prototype stage is a great way for them to relax and learn about their process. They can prove to themselves that they are capable of creating a strong product, even if their end product is not the best they’ve done. In fact, emphasizing process overall is probably the best way to get them to let go of their perfectionist tendencies.

    • Kathleen Anderson says:

      Like the idea of “play” in the prototype process. It will be a great way for them to relax and enjoy the process even more!

  2. faith broome says:

    I think having a class discussion about the possible problems that students may encounter is a way to let them know it is okay to make mistakes. Have a poster in the classroom that shows way to work through mistakes. I usually show other student examples of the project for the class, some may have mistakes to see if they catch them.

  3. Sonia says:

    I prefer the word mistake to error. Error has a negative connotation. Moreover, I strongly believe we learn from mistakes. Thus, mistakes are opportunities to learn. That said, I will reitirate to my students that it’s ok to make mistakes. Besides, in art it’s about experimentation rather than errors.

  4. Marja Ponkka-Carpenter says:

    Hm…most of my students are taking risks right at the beginning of the lesson because my lessons are- mostly- inquiry based. They have to work it out. I ask questions/reasons behind their working methods/ideas to let them to verbalize their thinking. I let them try and see what happens – in most of the cases. If someone is absolutely stuck, we discuss the process step by step. Visualize.

  5. Mary Beth Bauernschub says:

    Many students want to either be perfect or only once and be done with it. Letting them play around with materials or brainstorm with partners may help them feel freer to try something new. By playing, new things can be discovered, sometimes by accident. Today, when I had an idea, my partners went with my idea and together, we worked out ways to represent the idea that was more inventive. We didn’t start over, we built and solved problems to get the idea into a product.

  6. Zenola Jacobs says:

    I would never be critical of the students’ projects because they are self-expressions. I would critique the projects in such a manor that the students would feel comfortable as they make progress. As they do more projects, they will become more confident and skillful.

  7. Lisa H. says:

    I love modeling this. I will make a mistake when I write something down and then dramatically fix it. When I turn an “i” into an “e” the letter gets thicker and then becomes calligraphy. Of course, I have to make the other letters thicker. It always look prettier when I make mistakes. Sometimes, the piece will need some paper engineering to cover up the mistake. My oh my, everything looks more interesting after my mistakes!

  8. Jan says:

    I think it’s difficult to get most children (and most adults) past the thought that there is one right answer or one right way to do something. So creating a classroom environment where risk is safe is important.
    I like how we dealt with this thought while “tangling” — there are no mistakes. You simply make something new out of what most would view a “mistake.”
    That may not always be feasible. But encouraging children to think that way and solve the problem another way could keep them from feeling they had to start over.

  9. Donna Jonte says:

    Collaboration and play in a supportive environment! As Mary Beth said, we worked together to solve technical and conceptual problems–and it was fun. Making a prototype, like writing a draft, allows for experimentation and revision. But it takes time, and we don’t always have the luxury of time in the classroom to play, revise, discuss. Building in time for gallery walks and reflection midway through a project is important.

  10. Elena says:

    I am enjoying this week at NMWA very much. I’ve enjoyed every single learning experience we have had this week.

    However, sometimes I would like to just explore and experiment with one thing and I think I may be beginning to feel like a student again: overwhelmed by a host of activities each day.

    From this feeling of being a student again I am beginning to see more and more how important it is to make sure students are led to meaningful learning objectives but given time to succeed and fail. Often it is through failing that we learn something, even if we’ve seen it done a hundred times by someone else.

    Perhaps it is important to find ways to focus on the value of experimentation in the classroom rather than judging things to successful or unsuccessful as a finished product.

    Our educational system is too centered on cramming too much into too little time. Even in some of the better situations our students are placed in a position of being more passive as learners than ideal.

    Students must master learning objectives but should be given the time, encouragement, and latitude to do it.

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